Author’s Note: This article also appears on MSP Mentor.
You thought the cloud was a big deal? The Internet of things might be even bigger. To give you a quick example, Internet-connected devices are being implemented in industries that range from farming and agriculture all the way to health and fitness. In the future, all data will be monitored, stored, and utilized, and it takes billions of online devices to do it. Where will your MSP business be positioned when this emerging trend becomes the status quo?
The proliferation of connected devices is exciting news for consumers and IT providers alike. With Cisco projecting that there will be a total of 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020 (we’ll have way more devices than human beings on the planet), vigilant managed service providers have a universe of opportunity waiting for them by supporting and implementing a diverse array of connected devices. Wise MSPs should be ready to service not only traditional computing environments, but massively hybridized environments consisting of devices that range from a standard desktop to an Android smartphone to an Internet-connected refrigerator with a who-knows-what type of operating system.
The Internet of Things is a growing idea, but like any emerging trend, we’re still figuring it out. In fact, security is a known issue when it comes to these connected devices. Just last December a cyber-attack took control of over 100,000 consumer smart gadgets and used them to send hundreds of thousands of malicious emails. How is it that these smart devices were so easily hacked into? Obviously some sort of genius mega-hacker is responsible, right? Actually, this large attack was mainly the result of poorly configured devices and default-passwords, not unlike those extremely vulnerable devices in the medical industry. It doesn’t take a genius hacker to get into poorly secured systems.
As every MSP knows, security is an essential concept. Each of these connected devices is an end-point that can be exploited, and especially if default passwords are still in place. Security will be a growing concern with these extra Internet-connected devices, especially when they’re all networked. The right type of access on one seemingly innocuous device could provide access to others on the network. That’s why any large web of connected devices ought to have all security holes buttoned up. Consumers and businesses alike don’t always have the networking knowledge to prepare for security threats to their networks, but that’s where MSPs will find opportunity. It’s tough to say what the future holds, but the opportunities available to MSPs might extend past businesses into the realm of networking automated homes. Whatever the case, MSPs who are up on their game will be the ones who cash in.
The opportunities are clear, but some are still distant. In any instance, it’s up to each MSP business to decide now what they hope to support in the near future. The best way to ensure that this revenue stream doesn’t go untapped is to stay current on all of these emerging technologies—there should be plenty of money to be made in the booming gold mine that is the Internet of things.
What are you doing to stay on top of the Internet of things?